Posted by Piya Chakravarty on January 19, 2009

About 23.6 million people in the United States alone are suffering from diabetes according to the American Diabetes Association. The percentage of diabetics has jumped to 13.5 percent from 8 percent over past few years.

“There's been an explosion of data using yoga as a treatment option," says Dr. Shelley Wroth, an obstetrician at Duke Integrative Medicine and a yoga teacher. So, can yoga treat diabetes too? Themedguru explores…

According to Dr Shelly, studies have found that yoga helps curing diseases like hypertension, anxiety, arthritis, chronic back pain, carpal tunnel syndrome, fibromyalgia, stress, depressiondefine, diabetes and epilepsy -- among others.

What are the types of Diabetes?

There are basically two types of diabetes: type 1 and type 2. Type 1 diabetesdefine is the scarier one where the pancreasdefine stops making insulindefine. A patient with type 1 diabetes needs insulin shots regularly. Yoga is not very effective on this type of diabetes.

Type 2 diabetesdefine is non-insulin dependent. This is the more frequent type of diabetes and can be found in anyone irrespective of age, gender or race. In type 2 diabetes, the pancreas does produce insulin but that is not enough for the body. Obese people are at a higher risk that lean people. This is where yoga helps.

How yoga helps…

Yoga helps in improving our lifestyle, which is very important for the control of type 2 diabetes. Obesity can make a person more vulnerable to type 2 diabetes. Regular Practice of yoga helps in curbing obesity and ensuring a healthy life style.

With the hectic and unhealthy lifestyle common with most people in today’s world, stress is a common factor in life for everyone. Stress plays a big role in reducing the insulin action. Yoga helps reduce stress.

Yoga helps in relaxing the muscles and also improves the blood supply in the body. Yoga is very helpful in draining the body of all toxins through the many asanas, which help in cleansing the body.

Blood pressure plays a very important role in diabetes, which can be significantly controlled through yoga.

What are the asanas that can help?

1. Easy Pose (Sukhasana): One of the asanas most effective in reducing stress

2. Shoulder Stretches: Restores flexibility in the shoulder muscles

3. Sun Salutation (Surya Namaskar): A group of 12 asanas performed in succession

4. Half Spinal Twist (Ardha Matsyendrasana) :Strengthens the spinal cord

5. Matsyasana: Release stiffness in the shoulder blades and also helps in the problem of round shoulders.

6. Stand Spread Leg Forward Fold: Beneficial for the spine and the leg muscles

7. Tree Pose (Tadasana): Improves concentration and body balance

8. Yoga Exercise - Corpse Pose (Savasana). : This asana seems very simple. But it is a very difficult asana to actually do because it requires the mind to be completely empty of thoughts. Yoga experts believe that complete relaxation is only possible when the mind is completely empty.

9. Kapalabhati: Improves the breathing and good for reducing obesity

10. Simple Meditation Technique

11. Anuloma Viloma: Improves the breathing technique

The regular practice of physical activities such as yoga has many beneficial effects for diabetic patients. Especially for patients with type 2 diabetes, yoga helps in controlling the weight and blood pressure. Yoga can help reduce the dependence on oral hypoglycemiants. However, depending on the age, the amount of physical activity should be controlled and observed. It is always advisable to start an exercise regime under expert supervision.

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